Thursday, June 16, 2016

"NRA-ILA | NRA Statement on Terror Watchlists"

So Trump tweets that he'll meet with the NRA about not letting people on "a watchlist" buy a gun. 

Naturally, folks started losing their minds, because "The NRA's selling us out again!"

NRA-ILA | NRA Statement on Terror Watchlists: The executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, Chris W. Cox, released the following statement regarding terror watchlists:
We are happy to meet with Donald Trump.  The NRA's position on
this issue has not changed.  The NRA believes that terrorists should not
be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period.  Anyone on a terror
watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by
the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing.  If an
investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement,
the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the
sale, and arrest the terrorist.  At the same time, due process
protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who
are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed.  That has been the
position of Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) and a majority of the U.S.
Senate.  Sadly, President Obama and his allies would prefer to play
politics with this issue.
See, the problem is with the nature of a "watchlist."

One recalls that numerous people found themselves on the "No Fly" list who did not belong there.*

And just how does one wind up on a watchlist?

Good question.

And how does one get off a watchlist if one does not belong there?

Good question.

In Tamara's post "Who watches the watch list?" we find this article: The Problem With Banning Guns From People On The Terrorist Watch List | ThinkProgress.
Before September 11, 2001, the no-fly list, which names people who are banned from boarding flights in or out of the U.S., contained 16 people. A leak revealed that that number had grown to 47,000 as of 2013. Most of those names were added after President Obama took office. The broader terrorist watch list maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center has an even more expansive scope; the estimated number of people on the list has ranged from 700,000 to more than 1.5 million, figures which include Americans and foreigners.
One and a half million. 1,500,000.

Somewhere along the line, it developed that the douchebag Orlando murderer -- I refuse to name him -- had been on a "watchlist" while the FBI investigated him for whatever they were investigating him for, and then they dropped the investigation because they found no evidence of actual, you know, crimes having been committed, and poof!, he was off the watchlist.

The FBI pointed out that doing things like denying the douchebag from being able to buy a gun might tip him off that he was on a watchlist, which might result in compromising the investigation.

This,of course, ignores the fact that we are talking about denying people their constitutional rights because they are suspected of maybe having done something naughty.

Or  not.

I find it curious (there's a nice, neutral word!) that so many of the people who pitch a fit over the thought of having to provide ID to proof of eligibility to vote want to deny people the right to keep and bear arms over claimed statements of opinion.

So... What other Constitutional Rights should be compromised if one is on one of the mysterious watchlists? Since Facebook seems to figure so prominently in the radiclaization of J. Random Douchebag, maybe we should Internet access, and other aspects of First Amendment activity as well?

And, hey, they're accused of being terrorists, or at least terrorist sympathizers and enablers, so maybe we should throw out that pesky Fifth Amendment, as well! Which, come to think of it, that damned Fourth Amendment restricting search and seizure, etc., etc., sure gets in the way!

The Sixth is already on life support, so why bother?


Frankly, I think the NRA's statement is lukewarm, at best, but it's something. 

ETA: Here is what Ted cruz has to say:

* Granted Teddy Kennedy belonged on the "no drive" list...

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